That sports entertainment network in Bristol, CT must really be salivating at the prospect of Peyton Manning being anything resembling human. Ron Jaworski infamously claimed that "Father Time" is catching up to #18. Now, ESPN Insider (which is a fancy way of saying "blogger") KC Joyner writes that Manning is living on reputation alone.
Let's examine some of the gems Joyner was able to vomit onto this opinion piece:
Manning's 93.9 passer rating mark ranks 10th in the league. Some big name passers are in front of him in this category, but so are David Garrard, Vince Young and Matt Cassel, three quarterbacks who aren't exactly pulling in a lot of MVP consideration.
Yes, Mr. Joyner. Because passer rating is an all-telling stat and, consequentially, guys like David Garrard, Vince Young and Matt Cassel are clearly outplaying Manning and deserve more MVP consideration as such.
You have to be really, really dumb, or just really taking your troll game to the next level, to suggest that Vince Young -- who apparently is in no hurry to play, and when he does is barely trusted by his coach to throw the football more than 20 times per game -- is in any way a better QB or more deserving of MVP consideration than Peyton Manning.
Manning is the lone constant on an injury-ravaged, division-leading 6-3 Colts squad. Young is in-and-out of the starting role and barely trusted to throw the ball for the healthy, second-place Titans. If I really need to continue to spell out the differences for Joyner, well, maybe I should have a certain blogging position in Bristol, CT.
Here's another excerpt:
Manning's 6.9 yards per attempt total ranks 22nd in the league.
And might that tell you something, Mr. Joyner? Do you honestly think He Who Airs It Out is really standing in the pocket thinking "man, I really hope this play goes for seven yards!"
The problem with folks like Joyner, who are paid to offer rapid (over)reactions to statistics like passer rating - a statistic that somehow rated Carson Palmer's three interception, one for a pick-six, two touchdown game as better than Manning's turnover-less afternoon - is that they rarely consider context. It's easy to pick a random stat and make a loosely-substantiated case based on that. Tom Brady has less 40-yard passes than Matt Hasselbeck, Jon Kitna and Jason Campbell. Does that mean Brady can't throw the deep ball anymore? Has Father Time caught up to GQB #12?! DeAngelo Hall is leading the NFL with six interceptions, does that make him the best CB in the NFL? Brandon Lloyd is leading the NFL in receiving yards, is he the best WR?
Drew Brees is also averaging 6.9 yards per pass. Is he also living on reputation alone? Should we just burn the Super Bowl 44 starting QBs at the stake because, since leading their respective teams to the big dance, they've clearly just reached obscurity and are living on Super Bowl reputation alone a la Elvis Grbac and Trent Dilfer? Can we just admit already that Vince Young, Jon Kitna, Joe Flacco and Chad Henne are just infinitely better QBs than Manning and Brees? And that David Garrard's second-best NFL QB passer rating is a testament to the fact that he's finally arrived and is setting a standard which Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Manning and Brees can only dream of one day achieving?
Obviously, these are really stupid questions. But Joyner is a really stupid person, apparently, so I'm asking them. If the NFL operated according to Joyner's correlation between context-reliant, selectively-chosen stats...well, EA Sports needs to get on a new Madden roster update, pronto. You folks better trade Manning for Young or Cassell while you still can, because his overall is going down to at least a 72. Seriously though, Joyner, you want to know why Manning is still generating MVP talk, despite hitting a human stretch?
The reason, Mr. Joyner, that Manning is still alive in the MVP race (though I think Mike Vick and Philip Rivers have to be leading the pack right now), is that he somehow has his team at 6-3 and at the head of their division despite missing, oh I don't know, guys like Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, Melvin Bullitt, Gary Brackett, Clint Session, Austin Collie and of course all the guys who have already done time on the inactive list.
Manning isn't living on reputation. He's living on life support throwing to Brandon James and Gijon Robinson and hurrying throws thanks to shoddy pass protection. But of course, Joyner doesn't consider context. It's easier for these guys to just throw up a stat and generate really dumb theories from it. I'm not normally one to criticize other writers, as I believe everyone should be entitled to their opinion and enjoy articles from a variety of fan, journalistic or comic-literary venues. This merits some head-shaking, though, because it's so terribly lazy and poorly-conceived. It sounds like some inane, misspelled comment you'd see below a PFT article or in a CBS Sports game recap or something.
I guess in a way, though, it's somewhat inspiring. If Joyner can get paid to string together something as stupid as that, maybe there's still hope for this Journalism graduate.